Enhanceable crimes in Minnesota carry the possibility of additional penalties. Convictions of some crimes in our state, there is a 10-year period when the court can look at your record. Previous convictions or guilty plea for those offenses are aggravating factors. That could lead to enhanced charges.

Some offenses, including driving while intoxicated (DWI), can be enhanced crimes. Someone convicted of them is a repeat offender. Anyone with a conviction or a guilty plea for that same crime in the decade. Courts can also increase penalties if there are several other aggravating factors.

Consequences increase if there are aggravating factors

If a court finds aggravating factors, a driver could face higher fines. They might also lose their license or get convicted of longer jail sentences.

Aggravating factors include:

  • A blood alcohol content of .16 or above during the arrest.
  • Prior DWI convictions and DWI-related license suspensions within the past 10 years.
  • If there was someone under 16 was in the vehicle during the arrest.

DWI charges range from first through fourth degrees. A driver without any aggravating factors can be charged with fourth-degree DWI. A conviction often carries license suspension for 90 days. Depending on the seriousness of the offense a driver could face additional penalties. It is the least serious charge.

The number of aggravating factors raises the penalty

When aggravating factors are present, a DWI can become a gross misdemeanor or a felony. Those convictions carry more serious sentences. Drivers may not realize that pleading guilty on a first offense is on their record for a decade.

That plea could result in serious crimes if the driver faces DUI charges again within 10 years. Understanding aggravating factors and when they apply is important. If could change how you look at a DUI allegation.